Back in 2013, Tom Saintfiet was already using T&T as a reference to what so called smaller nations can achieve on the world football stage.
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Not business as usual for Red Force
When the national players turn out to play at the Queen’s Park Oval in regional cricket, they can roam freely about the place and interact with the fans as they want.
At Guaracara Park in Pointe-a-Pierre the situation is even more relaxed and as they can exit the back of the pavilion and enjoy a corn soup with the fans.
However, the big times have now hit them and it will not be business as usual in this Karbonn Smart Champions League tournament in India. With the very fabric of the game under threat from the corruption cancer the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) there partners Cricket Australia (CA) and Cricket South Africa (CSA) have decided to implement the strictest of security measures at all the venues and player movement will be tracked for suspicious activity.
The Red Force are settled in at Ranchi already where their first match of the tournament against the Brisbane Heat out of Australia will be played on Sunday. The organisers of the tournament have attached a retired army official courtesy the International Cricket Council (ICC) and a security officer to the team. These guys will be moving with the Red Force throughout the tournament, will be visible at the practice sessions, official team functions, matches and even in the dressing rooms.
Manager of the Red Force, Omar Khan says he has no issues with the measures taking place and in fact embraces it.
“Our players have been educated on what and not what to do when it comes to dealing with match fixing and we are confident that they would do the right thing.
“The players are here in India to play cricket and represent their country as ambassadors and this they will be doing. The fact that the extra security personnel is present would not detract us from the job at hand. We understand that measures must be taken to protect the game and the players and we are all for it.”
After the long flight from T&T, the players are now looking to refresh before continuing their preparations for the main draw. On Saturday, they get their first hit out against the Perth Scorchers at Ranchi, before their opening match of the tournament.
Cricket in Asia has undergone a lot of damage because of alleged match fixing and this season the Champions League organisers are taking a more stringent approach to player security in terms of contact with bookies by increasing the security staff. This has come about because of the match fixing allegations coming out of the Indian Premier League (IPL) this season.
Rajasthan Royals’s player Shantakumaran Sreesanth has been banned for life after being found guilty.